The Ever-Evolving American Synagogue

Date: Jun 24, 2020 - Jul 08, 2020

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Sponsor: Online Learning

Location: Online

Category: Online Learning

An online mini-course with JTS

Three Wednesdays
June 24, July 1, July 8
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

During the current Covid-19 crisis, synagogues across America have reinvented themselves, a pattern likely to continue if, as seems likely, they cannot open as usual for the coming High Holy Days. Though it’s too early to judge the long-term impact of these efforts, an appreciation for just how extensively and frequently American synagogues have rethought their fundamental missions and functions provides a useful context as we anticipate future developments. This series will examine how synagogues have evolved from the Colonial Period to the present, the circumstances prompting those changes, and the impact of revitalization efforts.  

Session 1: Adapting to America: How Synagogues Ceased to be Imports from Europe but American Institutions. 
Session 2: From Synagogue Centers to Suburban “Associations:” Campaigns to Transform 20th Century Synagogues  
Session 3: Synagogue Revitalization Experiments: From Havurot to Niche Congregations, Indie Minyanim and “Emergents” 

Dr. Jack Wertheimer is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Over his career, he has turned often to studies of synagogue life. Among his books are two edited volumes, The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed (1987) and Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members (2000). His most recent book, The New American Judaism (2018) looks at current synagogue life.